Posts Tagged ‘Aqueduct Racetrack’

Wood Memorial 2012 Recap: Gemologist Edges Alpha

Gemologist and Alpha punched their Kentucky Derby 2012 tickets after running 1-2 in an exciting edition of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday.

G1 Wood Memorial (4-7-12): 98 BSF (Gemologist)

Gemologist Alpha Kentucky Derby 2012

Gemologist is undefeated heading into Ky Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Lumber Guy was the headstrong early leader through splits of :23.04, :47.57, and 1:22.54. My Adonis tracked in 2nd, followed by Gemologist on the outside and Alpha along the rail.

The Lumber Guy was getting pressure from My Adonis and Gemologist with three furlongs to go. Gemologist put away his two pace foes but had to deal with a fresh challenge from Alpha. The stage was set for a thrilling finish and Gemologist stuck his neck out on the line with Alpha three clear of rallying show finisher Teeth of the Dog.

Tiger Walk finished 4th and was followed by The Lumber Guy, Street Life, My Adonis, and Casual Trick (more breathing problems).

Gemologist stopped the clock in 1:50.96 and paid $4.40 to win under Javier Castellano. Todd Pletcher’s undefeated colt will return to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

Gemologist fans should be pleased. He showed he could stalk and pounce and turned back talented colt Alpha in a determined effort. He is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs and could end up the Derby favorite, depending on what happens with Hansen in the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14.

Alpha did everything but win under Ramon Dominguez. He was on good gate behavior once again and proved he could take dirt in the face after racing along the rail. The McLaughlin/Godolphin colt finished up nicely and his numbers are on the rise.

This was a solid Derby prep from start to finish.

Wood Memorial Grade: A- (91 out of 100)

Wood Memorial 2012 Preview – Will Gemologist remain unbeaten?

Saturday’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is worth a cool $1 million and provides New York sophomores a final chance to qualify for Kentucky Derby 2012 on graded earnings.

#6 Gemologist (8-5) is 4-for-4 and needs a top two finish to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The sharp early-pressing type exits a romping tally over G3 Illinois Derby favorite Currency Swap in his Gulfstream return and tries to avoid a bounce while returning in three weeks.

#3 MY ADONIS (8-1) might be a cut below but he looks like the value play in this spot. The Kelly Breen trainee should sit a decent tactical journey and his numbers are on the rise. He gets away from Hansen after finishing behind the juvenile champ in the G3 Holy Bull and G3 Gotham.

Alpha horse

Alpha shoots for 3rd straight win on Saturday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Alpha (5-2) enters fresh and projects a ground saving tactical trip for the productive Dominguez/McLaughlin team. He was my original top ranked Derby contender when I began my list last September and I like the progress he is making this season.

#7 Tiger Walk (15-1) deserves a longshot look. He finished a solid 3rd in the G3 Withers and was hung out to dry from post 13 in G3 Gotham (missed 3rd by head).  His stablemate Millionreasonswhy is a strong contender in the G3 Comely earlier on the Big A program.

#5 Street Life (4-1) showed a nice late kick on the inner dirt in his last pair despite not getting much pace help. The son of Street Sense is on the upswing and will be finishing.

#8 The Lumber Guy (8-1) easily captured a pair of sprints to begin his career and looms a pace player at the very least. He will probably find this company and distance a bit beyond his scope at this stage.

#2 Casual Trick (20-1) is trying to rediscover his GP Derby form for Zito. He reportedly flipped his palate in his last pair and had surgery to correct the breathing problem.

#4 Teeth of the Dog (15-1) is getting better for Matz but this is a tough spot for a horse exiting a head maiden victory.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$2 Exacta Box 1-3 ($4)

$4 Exacta 1-3/6-7  ($16)

Gotham Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen seeks redemption

The next-to-last major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep in New York will be run at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday and juvenile champ Hansen tries to get back on the beam in the G3 Gotham Stakes.

Hansen horse

Is Hansen a legit Kentucky Derby contender? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#12 Hansen (6-5) removes the hood in hopes of relaxing a bit in the early going. He used too much early energy after stumbling at the start off the shelf in the G3 Holy Bull and it cost him dearly in the lane. I have always thought the 2-year-old champion was a speedy colt with distance limitations and he figures to take too much action under Dominguez. As of this writing, there is a 100% chance of rain at the Big A on March 3 and the strong morning line favorite handles any type of ground.

#2 Stealcase (12-1) is an interesting price player for Mark Casse. He was favored in all three career starts and smartly moved forward to earn his diploma over a route of ground at Gulfstream Jan 19. Windsurfer, the clear place finisher from his last, came back to break his maiden as the favorite. He finished 4th on Dec 24 and that key heat produced multiple next out winners including Thunder Moccasin in the G2 Hutcheson. The promising sort has faced decent runners and is on the improve.

#5 Maan (15-1) won both sprint starts for Eddie Kenneally (Santiva, Battle Hardened) including a stalk and pounce tally in the slop at the Gulf Feb 9. The $200k purchase is bred to go this far but must avoid a bounce.

#1 My Adonis (5-1) rallied for the show in the G3 Holy Bull. He handles any footing and is capable of stalking the pace or rallying late, depending on the race shape. His only bad race occurred when he dueled on a fast pace and faltered in the G3 Delta Jackpot.

#13 Tiger Walk (12-1) matched his career top number in a show finish behind Alpha in the G3 Withers here Feb 4. The Sagamore Farm colt has some talent and new pilot Eddie Castro will try to work out a tactical trip from a tough post.

#10 Side Road (20-1) replaces injured colt Consortium for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Darley Stable colorbearer is on the upswing and can grab a piece of this with further development.

#9 King And Crusader (15-1) could throw a monkey wrench into Hansen’s theft plans. Rick Dutrow’s fleet colt has rattled off three straight and looms a pace player at the very least. He might not want to go this far against this type of competition.

It would not be a Derby prep without Todd Pletcher and he takes two shots at the top prize. #6 Dan And Shelia (8-1) rallied to finish 4th in a slow renewal of the G3 Lecomte but that was only his second lifetime start so he has upside. Uncoupled stablemate #8 Raconteur (15-1) owns fine tactical speed and exits back-to-back inner track route victories. He is bred for a wet track and gets tested for class.

#3 Finnegans Wake (20-1) is one of two uncoupled longshots entered for Dale Romans. This one is owned by Donegal Racing (Dullahan, Paddy O’Prado) and goes turf-to-dirt. Stablemate #7 Suns Out Guns Out (30-1) is still a maiden for West Point Thoroughbreds. The son of Empire Maker is getting better but this is a tough spot.

#4 Pretension (20-1) has fired Exacta shots in all five lifetime starts. The decent NY-bred projects a tactical trip but might find this group a tad salty.

#11 Done Talking (20-1) was last seen rallying for 4th in the G2 Remsen. He has some ability but might need the outing.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2

$1 Trifecta 2-5/1-2-5-12/1-2-5-10-12-13 ($24)

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